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chicago - state street area

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Hello, I know this is a faux pas not to be doing more research, but any suggestions for a fun work dinner in this area? I am staying at the James and my colleagues are staying near the Macys (former Marshall Fields).
I don't know the city at all, so don't even know the name of the area.

Looking for:
1) not a steakhouse
2) fun place that is hip and lively enough, but with good food. doesn't need to be sushi, but with an emphasis on fish and / or offer raw oysters or any kind of raw fish (tartare, crudo, etc.).
3) nice enough to be treating an account, but not stuffy or uptight

I'm pretty open on cuisine. I tend towards ethnic. And like pretty much everything but French and Italian.

Thanks very much!

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  1. You might consider Blue Water Grill....pretty hip and good seafood. Shaw's Crab House is always reliable and has sushi, great oysters and is still fairly hip. Avec is also nice but not a great place for a business dinner due to the communal seating.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chgo36

      a very underraed place is Barro at Lake and Michigan. Rockit at State and Hubbard has been voted the best bar food in America. Frontera Grille isn't too far away if you are into haught mexican.

      1. re: chgo36

        I second Blue Water Grill. Hip, lively, very good food with an emphasis on fish and offers raw oysters. Not stuffy or uptight, but yet upscale. Enjoy!

      2. I would highly suggest checking out Vermilion -- hip, modern with Indian-Latin fusion cuisine. That is, there's some Indian, some Latin, and some Indian-Latin . . . and they always have a couple of raw seafood presentations. There are no gimmicks here -- they take the food seriously and I've always been given very good service. Also, you guys are about 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile away from each other, and Vermilion is located pretty much right in the middle. Here's a link to the website: http://www.thevermilionrestaurant.com/

        1. I wouild suggest Catch 35 at 35 W Wacker (Wacker and State St) - IMHO some of the best seafood in chicago.

          http://www.catch35.com/chicago-01-hom...

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          Catch 35
          35 W. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601